President Donald Trump on Sunday baselessly claimed “mental illness” was the cause of the fatal shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend that led to the deaths of 29 people combined.
While Trump floated that “perhaps more has to be done” to prevent future shootings, he claimed that “this is also a mental illness problem if you look at both of these cases.”
“This is mental illness,” he said. “These are really people that are very, very seriously mentally ill.”
So far authorities have found no indication that either of the two suspected shooters were mentally ill. While the motive of Connor Betts, the suspected Dayton shooter who was killed by the police, remains unknown so far, investigators believe the El Paso shooter may have written an anti-immigrant manifesto ranting against the “Hispanic invasion” and are therefore investigating the shooting as a possible hate crime.
Telling reporters that he’d spoken to Attorney General Bill Barr and FBI Director Chris Wray, Trump said that “hate has no place in our country and we’re going to take care of it.”
Trump critics, including 2020 candidate former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), say Trump’s own racist rhetoric against immigrants and Hispanics has contributed to the rise in white nationalist violence.
Trump has downplayed white nationalism as “a small group of people that have very, very serious problems,” even though Wray told Congress that a majority of his agency’s arrests of domestic terrorists this year had links to white supremacy.
Watch Trump below:
Trump blames El Paso, Dayton shootings on "mental illness" pic.twitter.com/KvaU7LGRjS
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) August 4, 2019